In 2017, Polish documentary films were shown at international film festivals abroad over 520 times, winning a total of 75 awards, including the prestigious European Film Award and awards at IDFA - world's biggest documentary film festival. Polish documentary film was a special guest at, among others, FIDBA in Argentina, GZDOC in China and BogoShorts in Colombia. Let's take a look at the summary of the last year.

In 2017 Polish documentary film was very successful in international arena. For the seventh time the Polish Docs editorial staff prepared a comprehensive listing of festival screenings and awards won by Polish filmmakers.

Last year Polish documentaries were shown at almost 240 festivals around the world. During twelve months over 520 film screenings took place, approximately 320 out of which were competition screenings. In 2017 international festival audience watched over 130 Polish documentary films.

This year once again short films became the favourites of the foreign programmers. The festival record-breaker was a documentary film "Close Ties" by Zofia Kowalewska, shown abroad as many as 46 times. However, this year two feature length films took their places on the podium: "Two Worlds" by Maciej Adamek with 42 screenings and "Communion" by Anna Zamecka presented to international audience at 40 festivals.

2017 was a good year for "You Have No Idea How Much I Love You" by Paweł Łoziński, which was shown 23 times, whereas short documentary "Polonaise" by Agnieszka Elbanowska visited 18 festivals abroad. Last year's winner, Marcin Podolec's animated documentary "A Documentary Film", also this year did quite well – it was invited by 17 festivals. The same number of festivals in 2017 was visited by "Daniel" directed by Anastazja Dąbrowska.

"Urban Cowboys" by Paweł Ziemilski was presented abroad at international festivals 16 times, "Education" by Emi Buchwald – 15, and "21 x New York" by Piotr Stasik - 14 times. "Last Season" by Sławomir Witek had a dozen of screenings, just one more than "Volte" by Karolina Poryzała and Monika Kotecka. "Object" by Paulina Skibińska, which is constantly running since the beginning of 2015, as well as "Icon" by Wojciech Kasperski, during the last twelve months have been shown 10 times.

Last year Polish documentary filmmakers won a total of 75 awards around the world. If we look at the number of prizes won by the particular films the podium looks quite similar as in the case of the number of screenings: first place goes to "Communion" with 13 awards and just behind is "Close Ties" with 12 awards and "Two Worlds" with 10 awards.

One of the most important trophies went to "Communion" by Anna Zamecka which was chosen by the European Film Academy the best European Documentary 2017. The film also won, among others, Alpe Adria Cinema Award at Trieste Film Festival, Best Documentary at It’s All True Festival in Brazil, Best Documentary In The Central & Eastern Europe Competition at Astra Film Festival in Romania and Grand Prize of Yamagata Festival in Japan. "Close Ties" was successful at various festivals including Alcine in Spain, BogoShorts in Colombia and DocEgde in New Zealand; whereas "Two Worlds" was awarded at Wales International Documentary Festival in UK, FaitoDoc in Italy and Bosifest in Serbia.

Two documentaries won in 2017 four awards each: "You Have No Idea How Much I Love You" and "Urban Cowboys", while "A Brave Bunch. Children of Warsaw Uprising" by Tomasz Stankiewicz received five awards.

Also "Icon" by Wojciech Kasperski is a proud winner of several prestigious awards. Apart from the Jury’s Award at DocsMX Festival in Mexico, the film received also the IMAGO award for best cinematography in a documentary movie and Prix Italia.

Two Polish documentaries gained recognition during one of the most important documentary film festivals in Europe - IDFA in the Netherlands: "Call Me Tony" by Klaudiusz Chrostowski received ARRI IDFA Award for Best Student Documentary, and "Zhalanash – Empty Shore" by Marcin Sauter - Best Short Documentary Award. In total this year six Polish documentaries competed in Amsterdam (including "Over the Limit" by Marta Prus, which at IDFA had its world premiere, and "The Ugliest Car” by Grzegorz Szczepaniak), and two films were presented there outside the competition.

The year started with the Cinema Eye Honors 2016 award for Michał Marczak's film "All These Sleepless Nights", which won in the Heterodox Award category; and ended with nominations to Cinema Eye Honors 2017 for the films "Polonaise" by Agnieszka Elbanowska, "You Have No Idea How Much I Love You" and "Communion".

In 2017 Polish films visited various important festivals: "The Prince and the Dybbuk" premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion in the Venice Classic category, while "Miss Holocaust" by Michalina Musielak and Irena Siedlar and "The Trial. The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov" directed by Askold Kurow were presented at Berlinale in Germany.

Polish film visited this year also the biggest documentary film festivals. DOK Leipzig in Germany not only hosted the world premiere of the film "Call Me Tony" and international premiere of "How to Destroy Time Machines" by Jacek Bławut, but also presented thirteen other Polish films as a part of a special programme called "A Declaration of Love to Polish Documentary Film". Six Polish films were shown at Hot Docs in Canada, with "Volte" receiving a Special Mention, and four Polish short documentaries entered the competition of the AFI Docs Festival in the USA.

A strong representation of Polish documentaries appeared also at the MiradasDoc Film Festival on Canary Islands (11), Parnu Film Festival in Estonia (10) and Neisse Film Festival in Germany.

In April Polish cinema was a guest at goEAST in Wiesbaden, Germany. The festival prepared a special screening called "Working Woman", which consisted of numerous short Polish documentaries including: "The 24 Hours of Jadwiga L." by Krystyna Gryczełowska, "I Am a Man" by Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz and "Female Workers" and "Day After Day" by Irena Kamieńska. In June Polish films travelled to the Edinburgh International Film Festival in Scotland. Various Polish films including fiction, documentaries and animations were presented in a special Focus on Poland section.

September brought Encounters Film Festival in UK. This year the festival shown an impressive collection of Polish cinema, including documentary film. The Polish Voices programme, prepared by the Krakow Film Foundation, presented the classic documentaries produced between 1967 and 1999, as well as new productions divided into thematic sections devoted to family relations and love.

Similarly in November, The Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival presented the Polish Docs programme prepared by the Krakow Film Foundation, consisting of six film directed by young and talented Polish filmmakers.

Last year the Krakow Film Foundation, as a part of the Polish Docs/Polish Animations Intercontinental programme, organised documentary film screenings in South America and Asia. In July Focus on Polish Docs was presented at FIDBA in Argentina, thank to which the audience in Buenos Aires could watch over 20 Polish documentaries in two sections: Masters from Krakow (film classics) and Young Talents (films by young filmmakers). Apart from that the festival hosted a special Wojciech Staroń's retrospective, which was accompanied by the master class conducted by the director.

In October a chance to get to know Polish cinema was given to the audience in Tokyo. In the Polish Short Film Week programme they could watch the films made by the Polish documentary master, Krzysztof Kieślowski, as well as new films from the young generation of documentary filmmakers, which have already gained recognition at various international festivals.

Few months later, in December, polish documentaries visited Colombia and the BogoShorts Festival. This time the Focus on Polish Docs programme consisted of two sections: Polish Documentary Masters and Young Talents, and the festival hosted Paweł Łoziński's retrospective and a meeting with the director. What is more, as many as nine Polish films entered the festival competition.

Focus on Poland was also presented during this year's edition of International Documentary Film Festival GZDOC in Guangzhou, China. As a part of the special programme, the festival presented films made by three Polish documentary filmmakers and cinematographers: Wojciech Staroń, Marcin Koszałka and Bogdan Dziworski, and displayed the exhibition of their photographs. The festival also hosted a vast retrospective of Marcel Łoziński's films.

In 2017, apart from the finished films, also documentary projects were very successful being presented and awarded at various international film industry events: pitches, forums and co-production meetings. Łukasz Borowski's project "Runners" (prod. Wajda Studio) received the Flow Digital Cinema Award for its presentation at the co-production forum When East Meet West in Triest, "White Cube" by Wojciech Pustoła (prod. Endorfina Studio) an award for best pitching during Docs in Progress at Visions du Reel in Nyon, Switzerland, "War Watchers" by Vita Drygas (prod. Drygas Production) was presented at the prestigious Hot Docs Forum in Canada, the project "Occupation 1968", whose Polish part is directed by Magdalena Szymków, was presented during Docu Talents from the East at the Film Festival in Karlove Vary and IDFA Forum, the project "Underage Astronauts" by Aleksandra and Mirosław Skowron - during GZDOC Forum in Guangzhou, "The Good Change" by Konrad Szołajski at MEDIMED pitch in Sitges, Spain, and Hanna Polak's latest project - "Angels of Sinjar" - at the EBU Pitch in Amsterdam.

During this year's edition of the Emerging Producers programme, accompanying Jihlava International Documentary FF, Poland was represented by Anna Gawlita from Kijora Film, winner of the best short and documentary films producer award at the 57th Krakow Film Festival, and at the Match Me! workshops at Locarno FF - by Maria Krauss from Plesnar& Krauss. During another edition of DOK Incubator the participants were Marta Prus and Maciej Kubicki, who were finishing working on "Over the Limit", during Documentary Campus Masterschool - Ana Brzezińska, who is developing an interactive project "Future is Forever", and during Ex Oriente - Bogna Kowalczyk with a project "Boylesque", Małgorzata Goliszewska with a project "Lesson of Love" and two Polish co-productions "Lady Porn" by Zoe D’Amaro i "ELKEA: Borders of Self-control" by Hana Novakova. In the meantime, at the DOK Leipzig CO-Pro Market Karolina Galuba and Małgorzata Małysa from Furia Film presented a project "The Graduate" by Adrian Apanel.

At the East Silver Market the Silver Eye Award was given to a short film "Dust" by Jakub Radej, while seven other Polish films were nominated.

Last year for the eleventh time the Krakow Film Foundation organised a national Polish Docs stand at the Sunny Side of the Doc Market in La Rochelle – the biggest documentary cinema market in Europe. As always at the Polish stand KFF promoted the latest Polish documentary productions and the accredited producers had a chance to secure funding for their projects and make international connections.

A large delegation of Polish producers took part in the East Doc Platform – co-production meetings and pitches of documentary projects organised by Institute of Documentary Film in Prague.

As every year KFF prepared Polish Docs film programmes for the Doc Shop documentary market, Hot Docs Festival in Canada, Docs for Sale during IDFA in the Netherlands, Doc Market during Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece, Doc Outlook during Visions du Reel in Switzerland, East Silver in Czech Republic and DOK Market during DOK Leipzig in Germany. As a part of DOK Leipzig, KFF, together with Wajda School, prepared also a meeting with the most prominent representatives of documentary film industry: Polish Docs - Meeting with Decision Makers; and during IDFA, Polish Docs, in cooperation with Munk Studio and HBO Europe, hosted Guests Meet Guests, prepared especially for hundreds of international guests of the festival.

The events organised or co-organised by KFF received financial support from the Polish Film Institute, and the Polish Docs / Polish Animations Intercontinental project was executed with additional support from the Polish Filmmakers Association and the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Our partners were: Krakow Festival Office, Krakow Film Commission, Polish Embassy in Buenos Aires, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Guangzhou, Munk Studio, Wajda School and HBO Europe.

Foreign partners were: Short Shorts in Tokyo, Bogoshorts in Bogota (Colombia), SICAF and Asiana ISFF in Seoul (South Korea), GZDOC in Guangzhou (China), FIDBA in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Edinburgh IDFF (Scotland), Encounters ISFF in Bristol (England), Institute of Documentary Film in Prague (Czech Republic), Sunny Side of the Doc (France), Hot Docs (Canada), IDFA/Docs for Sale (The Netherlands), Visions du Reel (Switzerland), European Documentary Network (Denmark), CPH:DOX (Denmark), DOK Leipzig (Germany).



21 x New York, dir. Piotr Stasik

MakeDox, Macedonia - Onion Award For The Best Film In The Main Program

ZagrebDOX, Croatia – Special Mention

Call Me Tony, dir. Klaudiusz Chrostowski

IDFA, The Netherlands - ARRI IDFA Award for Best Student Documentary

Daniel, dir. Anastazja Dąbrowska

FerFilm International Film Festival, Kosovo - Best Short Documentary

Bosifest 2017, Serbia - Best Director

Touch of an Angel, dir. Marek Tomasz Pawłowski

History Film Festival in Rijeka, Croatia - Grand Prix

Universal Film Festival, USA – Best Documentary

15th International Film Festival, Monaco – Peace Award

Two Worlds, dir. Maciej Adamek

Wales International Documentary Festival, UK - Best Feature Sound, Best Feature Film

Green Point Film Festival, USA - Best Documentary Feature

Seoul Guro International Kids Film Festival, Korea - Audience Award

FaitoDOCfestival, Italy - Young Jury Award

ARKIPEL Jakarta International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, Indonesia - Jury Award

Saratov Sufferings Documentary Drama Film Festival, Russia - Audience Award

Bosifest 2017, Serbia - Special Mention

Weyauwega International Film Festival, USA - Best Short Documentary

Festival Inclús, Spain - Best Documentary Feature Film

A Brave Bunch. Children of Warsaw Uprising, dir. Tomasz Stankiewicz

Jaipur International Film Festival, India - Best Children Film

Indian World Film Festival, India - Best Documentary Award, Best Editing Award

Dada Saheb Phalake Film Festival, India - Best Editing Award

Seoul Guro International Kids Film Festival, Korea - Best Award

Icon, dir. Wojciech Kasperski

DocsMX, Mexico - Jury Award

Jurek, dir. Paweł Wysoczański

Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, UK – 2nd Prize

Communion, dir. Anna Zamecka

28th Trieste Film Festival, Italy - Alpe Adria Cinema Award

It’s All True - 22nd International Documentary Film Festival, Brazil - Best Documentary for Feature or Medium-Length Competition

32nd DOK.fest International Documentary Film Festival in Munich, Germany - SOS-Kinderdorfer Weltweit Award

TRT Documentary Awards, Turkey - Best Documentary Award

OsloPix, Norway - Grand Pix Documentary

Flahertiana Film Festival, Russia - Special Jury Mention

Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan - The Grand Prize

Ânûû-rû Âboro Documentary FF, New Caledonia - Grand Prize


ZagrebDOX, Croatia – Special Mention

DMZ Docs, Korea – White Goose Award

Free Zona Film Festival, Serbia - Best Film in the International Competition, Best Film in 14+ Competition

End of the World, dir. Monika Pawluczuk

Venice Film Week, Italy – Best Short Documentary

The Prince and the Dybbuk, dir. Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosłowski

74th Venice International FF, Italy - Venice Classics Award For Best Documentary On Cinema

Minsk International Film Festival "Listapad", Belarus - Diplomas Award

Urban Cowboys, dir. Paweł Ziemilski

Astra Film Festival, Romania - Best Direction In The Docschool Competition

Verzio Film Festival, Hungary - Best Student Film

Go Short - International Short FF Nijmegen, The Netherlands - Special Mention

FIDÉ - International Student Documentary FF, Brazil - Audience Award

Between Us, dir. Marcin Miller

Busan International Short Film Festival, Korea – Jury’s Award

Miss Holocaust, dir. Irena Siedlar, Michalina Musielak

13th Lago Film Fest International Festival of Short and Documentaries, Italy - Special Mention

Education, dir. Emi Buchwald

Astra Film Festival, Romania - Best Docschool Documentary

You Have No Idea How Much I Love You dir. Paweł Łoziński

ZagrebDOX, Croatia – Special Mention

5th CinéDOC – Tbilisi, Georgia – Main Award, Audience Award

DocsBarcelona, Spain – What the Doc Award

Opera About Poland, dir. Piotr Stasik

21st Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, Czech Republic - Best Central and Eastern European Documentary Film 

Piano, dir. Vita Maria Drygas

MiradasDoc, Croatia – Special Mention

First Pole on Mars, dir. Agnieszka Elbanowska

DOCfeed International Documentary Festival Eindhoven, The Netherlands - The Best Short Documentary Film

Polonaise, dir. Agnieszka Elbanowska

It’s All True - 22nd International Documentary Film Festival, Brazil - Honorable Mention

10th Wiz-Art - Lviv International Short Film Festival, Ukraine - Special Mention

Springs Have Gone, Winters Are Coming, dir. Karol Pałka

Ismailia International Film Festival, Turkey – Special Mention

The Snails, dir. Grzegorz Szczepaniak

Annapolis Film Festival, USA – Audience Award

Three Conversation on Life, dir. Julia Staniszewska

Febio Fest, Slovakia – Special Mention

Go Short - International Short FF Nijmegen, the Netherlands - Special Mention

Close Ties, dir. Zofia Kowalewska

26th Flickerfest's International Short Film Festival, Australia - Best Short Documentary

ZagrebDOX, Croatia - Special Mention

Sharm Film Festival, Egypt - Silver Djed Pillar for the Best Director

Vilnius International FF “Kino pavasaris", Lithuania - Best Film in Short Competition

IndieLisboa – International Independent FF, Portugal - Grand Prix

DocEdge Festival, New Zealand - Best International Short

Film Festival Herceg Novi, Montenegro - Grand Prix

CinEast - Central and Eastern European FF, Luxemburg - Audience Award

47th Alcine - Alcalá de Henares Film Festival, Spain - Primer Premio “Alcine”

Minsk International Film Festival "Listapad", Belarus - Student Award

Bogotá Short Film Festival BOGOshorts, Colombia - Best Short Documentary

MiradasDoc, Croatia – Special Mention

Volte, dir. Monika Kotecka, Karolina Poryzała

Hot Docs, Canada - Honourable Mention

Zhalanash – Empty Shore, dir. Marcin Sauter

IDFA, The Netherlands – Best Short Documentary

*data collected from the information received from producers, filmmakers and festivals by Polish Docs. If you know of any awards won abroad by the Polish documentary films that are not included in this report, please send us a message: redakcja@polishdocs.pl